Montréal-based Bello is gearing up to launch its water purifier and infuser after securing $1.5 million CAD following an appearance on Dragon’s Den’s Québec counterpart last year.
“We are competing with water filters and water infusers, but we see our real competitors as plastic bottles for water, flavored waters, juices, iced teas, etc.”
-Marc Schaal, Bello
Bello’s all-in-one kitchen gadget aims to help eliminate plastic bottles with a carbon-based water filter, which lasts six months rather than the standard three months, and glass infusion pods, which can be used up to 50 times, according to the company.
The pre-seed funding stems from an agreement on an episode of Dans L’oeil du Dragon that aired in May 2023, which ended with investor Georges Karam giving Bello $200,000 CAD for 10 percent of the company. Bello told BetaKit that Karam’s family office, Aylee Investments, upgraded the investment to $1.5 million CAD following the episode, which closed in December.
Bello said the funding has allowed it to develop its prototype into a scalable product, as well as develop its operations infrastructure, including logistics, marketing, app design, and intellectual property. The company has raised $1.6 million CAD to date, but did not disclose its valuation.
Co-founded by Marc Schaal and Clément Bouland in 2019, Bello aims to improve access to clean water and hydration while reducing dependency on plastic water bottles. The company began by working on water quality sensors and filters, but pivoted to creating the “Nespresso experience for water.”
“We are competing with water filters and water infusers, but we see our real competitors as plastic bottles for water, flavored waters, juices, iced teas, etc,” Schaal said in an emailed statement to BetaKit. “Bello is a beverage company at the end of the day. We are simply building the portal to enjoy your favorite drinks that you would buy at the convenience store from your home or office”
The detrimental impacts of bottled water on both the environment and human health have garnered heightened attention in recent years.
Last year, CNN reported on claims from the United Nations University Institute for Water, Environment, and Health that the world generated around 600 billion plastic bottles in 2021, which reportedly ended up as around 25 million tons of plastic waste in landfills.
Earlier this month, the CBC shed light on a study from the Proceedings of National Academy of the Sciences, which said three popular bottled water brands in the United States contained an average of 240,000 plastic particles per liter.
Bello said its filter pores are three times smaller than a Brita, adding that its product uses a pump to push water through, allowing for on-demand filtered water rather than waiting on a gravity-fed filter, like a Brita. Along with its infusion system, users can track their vitamin and hydration levels through its app, which offers reminders to drink water throughout the day or to change out a flavour capsule that is running low.
With a summer 2024 product launch in its sights, Schaal said Bello is launching a Kickstarter to gauge consumer feedback, finance its first round of production, and gain attention from media and retailers.
As Bello focuses on manufacturing, Schaal said Bello has pre-sold 1,000 machines and received 1,500 reservations in anticipation of the Kickstarter launch on Feb. 7, which will feature a $100 USD discount from its anticipated retail price of $299 USD.
Feature image courtesy of Bello.